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Last Updated: Friday, 16 June 2006, 23:01 GMT 00:01 UK
Easyjet founder Stelios knighted
Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou
Sir Stelios says he is surprised but thrilled
Easyjet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou has been knighted for services to entrepreneurship.

Sir Stelios, who has both British and Greek passports, said the honour added to the joy he gets when people stop him in the street to say thanks.

He is joined by fashion billionaire Philip Green, who has been knighted for services to the retail industry.

Sir Philip, the boss of the Arcadia Group and Bhs department stores said it was a "nice honour".

'Great reward'

Sir Stelios said he humbly accepted the honour, which is bestowed within the Queen's birthday honours list.

Sir Philip Green
Sir Philip says he is pleased to have made his mark

"It came as a surprise to me and I am not sure at this stage that I deserve an honour for services to entrepreneurship which is usually reserved for those with a lifetime of business achievement," he said.

"I only started Easyjet some 11 years ago.

"On reflection, I am always pleasantly surprised when ordinary members of the public stop me in the street to say 'thank you', I guess for making travel and other goods and services affordable to them.

"To get the same endorsement now from the top echelons of British society is a joy to me and a great reward for the efforts that I have made."

'Made your mark'

Meanwhile Sir Philip said it was nice "to have made your mark".

"I am happy, this wasn't expected. I absolutely welcome it - why not?" he said.

"It is 25 to 30 years of working in this business with tens of thousands of people.

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"To make your mark on your industry, in terms of what you do in your life, has to be hopefully one of the things you achieve."

Sir Philip, a millionaire since the age of 33, has long been a main player on the UK High Street.

After being raised in South London and educated at a private school in Berkshire, he went straight into business in the retail sector, selling jeans and shoes.

His Arcadia group today has more than 2,000 outlets across the UK, which includes other brands including Dorothy Perkins, Burton, Top Man and Etam.

Sir Philip and Sir Stelios are joined by HBOS bank boss James Crosby, who has been knighted for services to the finance industry.

Also knighted is John Sunderland, chair of confectionary firm Cadbury Schweppes.

Sir John receives his knighthood for his services to business.

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